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Undergraduate Research

Lauren Cassidy 

BA with Distinction, German Studies and Global & International Studies, May 2018

Lauren earned Departmental Honors for her senior German Studies thesis, Annexation or Reunification? Linguistic Appraisal of German and Russian news reporting on Crimea. She observed that Russian involvement in Ukraine led to increasingly tense diplomatic relations between Russia and Germany, and that the news press is responsible for affecting how readers perceive the crisis. To better understand the complex issue of the media’s portrayal of foreign involvement, Lauren employed appraisal theory in her linguistic study to identify specific instances of moral sanctions within select news articles. Her faculty mentor, Professor Vyatkina, wrote: “Lauren surpassed expectations for an undergraduate researcher with her choice of a challenging topic, comprehensive literature review, careful data analysis, and insightful discussion of her findings. She also fearlessly embraced a theoretical and methodological framework—Linguistic Appraisal Theory—that was completely new to her, learned about it in record time, and skillfully and successfully applied it in her data analysis.” Lauren presented her research at the Undergraduate Research Symposium.

Holden Zimmerman

BA German Studies and History, with a minor in European Studies, May 2018

Holden’s research project in the capstone course, “Museen der Humanität: Schweizerische Nationalidentität und die Humanitiät,” explored the role Swiss museums play in defining and preserving the country’s national identity and its relationship to humanitarianism. She read scholarly monographs and used those authors’ theoretical frameworks to devise one of her own. She also read museum reports, catalogs, and historiography. Her final paper, written in German, evidenced a high level of originality and critical thinking. This research project was related to her senior thesis in History on the “defensive humanitarianism” that characterized Swiss prisoner of war camps during World Wa I. She conducted archival research in Switzerland for that project and worked in three languages. She published a shortened version of her History thesis in the latest issue of the Undergraduate Research Journal for the Humanities. She also presented her work at the Dole Institute of Politics for a WWI Centennial Commemoration event. Holden earned Departmental Honors in History for her thesis.

Sara Anderson

BA with Distinction, German Studies and Global & International Studies, May 2015

Sara earned Departmental Honors for her senior thesis, “Wi snackt wedder platt!”: Die Charta der Regional- oder Minderheitensprachen und die Rückkehr der niederdeutschen Sprache in Bremen und Niedersachsen.” Inspired by an exchange year she had spent in Bremen while in high school, Sara’s interdisciplinary thesis built on her coursework in German Studies and Global & International Studies. Her research encompassed a wide range of sources, including EU and German federal and state documents, interviews, newspaper articles, and scholarship on Low German and the Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. Her faculty mentor, Professor Vanchena, commented: “Sara worked systematically, thoroughly, and with a high degree of motivation to develop a bibliography, identify and evaluate her sources, and write an exceptional thesis.” She presented her research (in English) at the Hall Center for the Humanities Undergraduate Research Seminar and the Undergraduate Research Symposium, and she published a shortened version of her thesis, “‘Wi snackt wedder Platt!’ Bringing Low German back to Bremen and Lower Saxony through the Charter for Regional or Minority Languages,” in the KU Journal of Undergraduate Research.


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